One of the things that I have learned is that, I am responsible for my own self-esteem. Through-out my life I have had low self-esteem as well as healthy self-esteem. During my times of low self-esteem I became very insecure and this affected all of my relationships with others. I had to work on myself and had to put the effort into boosting my own self-esteem.
Causes of Low Self-Esteem
There are different causes of developing low self-esteem.
These can include the following:
- abuse and/or dysfunction in childhood
- significant losses in childhood
- parental alcoholism and/or drug addiction
- overly critical parents
- excessive criticism from others
- parental neglect or over protectiveness
- parental rejection or rejection from others
- absence of praise, affection, warmth or interest
- dissatisfaction with personal appearance
- experienced betrayal
- illness/physical ailments
- living conditions
- lack of proper education
- lack of coping skills
- stressful life events
- financial issues
- relationship problems
- being bullied/mistreated
- job issues/unemployment
- unrealistic expectations
Dangers of Low Self-Esteem
There are many dangers to having low self-esteem as it can cause several problems in our lives.
These include the following:
- alcohol and/or drug abuse
- marital problems
- relational issues
- affects how we think of ourselves as well as how we think of others
- increases stress
- causes insecurity
- affects how we react to life and life’s events
- causes physical health problems
- eating disorders
Signs of Low Self-Esteem
There are various signs that we can look for in order to see if someone is struggling with low self-esteem.
These can include:
- feeling inadequate, worthless and/or unlovable
- being stuck in an abusive relationship
- going from one abusive relationship to another
- having an eating disorder – anorexia, bulimia, compulsive over-eating
- constantly being defensive
- fear of failure
- fear of success
- not being assertive – inability to say “no”
- unhealthy boundaries
- not trying new things – fear
- fear of socializing
- inappropriate conformity
- over compliant
- being pessimistic
- easily frustrated
- engaging in sarcasm
- hostility towards others
- over controlling
18 Ways to Boost Your Self-esteem
There are different actions that you can do that will boost your self-esteem. You can start by making the decision to put your desire into action. It starts with working on your attitude and deciding to change. You have the power to build your own self-esteem.
These 18 ways include the following:
Review your strengths and weaknesses
Take some time and make a list of all the things that you are good at. It can be anything from boiling an egg or playing scrabble to being a good mother. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, it’s time that we focus on our strengths and set goals to work on our weaknesses. Make another list and list all of your achievements. List all big ones as well as the small ones. They can be anything from passing a class or learning a new skill to getting out of bed and facing a new day after a bout of depression. Set some goals to help you move towards making your life healthier and more fulfilled. For some help with goal setting I have written an article on “SMART” goals (click on the link).
Learn how to accept compliments
I know so many people who struggle with accepting compliments. If you dismiss them or ignore them, you are giving the impression that you are not worthy of them. You are also insulting the person that gave them to you. Accept compliments graciously. Simply smile and say, “thank you”.
Associate with positive people – Distance yourself from people who are negative or overly critical
When we spend time with positive people we tend to pick up on their attitude. We will feel better about ourselves and we will have more joy in our lives. If you surround yourself with negative people, they too can influence your own attitude and it can result in feeling worse about yourself, your life and your future.
It is important to build a positive support network of people. This not only helps us, it also benefits them. Having supportive friends and being a supportive friend is truly a gift.
Don’t be a doormat: Learn how to say “no”
Say the following sentence out loud: “I do not have to say yes to every request that is made to me.” How did that feel? For many people, that statement is scary and hard to say. That statement is also a true gift to yourself and to the other person. When you say yes outwardly and inside you are screaming “no”, you are lying to yourself and you are also lying to the other person. You are setting yourself up to develop resentments, which will adversely affect your relationship.
Start to set boundaries and accept that it is healthy to say “no”. If you don’t acknowledge your needs and desires, no one less will. When we don’t have boundaries we allow others to take advantage of us. When you say “no”, you are telling yourself that you have value. If you are wanting some guidance in recognizing if you are valuing yourself and ways to value yourself more, I have written an article that you can access here – Do you value yourself.
Say “no” to your inner critic and be mindful – aware of your own thoughts
Pay attention to your own thoughts. What messages do you tell yourself? Are you more critical than kind? It is difficult to develop healthy self-esteem when you keep putting yourself down.
Celebrate your own special qualities
It is list making time again 😀. Make a list of all the qualities that you like about yourself. Some example are:
- I am generous
- I have compassion for others
- I have a wicked sense of humor
- I am a thoughtful person
- I am raising beautiful humans
If you are struggling with this exercise, ask some close friends. You might be surprised with what they tell you.
There are times in our life where we get so caught up in everything having to be “perfect” that we lose sight of the things in our lives that really matter. It is not possible to have it all, do it all, or be all to everyone. It’s perfectly ok, to be perfectly imperfect. No one is perfect.
Stop comparing yourself to others
There will always be people who are “better” than us and others that are “worse” than us. If you are focusing on the people who are “better” than you, it will only set you up for more negative thoughts about yourself. These negative thoughts will result in lower self-esteem. Remember, even if it looks like it from the outside, no one is perfect.
Get up. Suit up. Show up. When we engage in physical activity it gets the endorphins moving in our brains. These endorphins have a direct effect on your mood. You don’t have to go to the gym or run a marathon. There are plenty of activities that can get you moving. Try going for a walk, putting on some music and dance around the house, or take the family to the pool for a swim.
Take care of your personal appearance
This is not about getting obsessed about your looks. This is about taking care of yourself. Have a shower and wash your hair. Get a new haircut. Wear your favorite outfit. Take some time and put on some make-up. When we make some effort, we are then rewarded with good feelings about ourselves.
Try to do nice things for others – be kinder towards others
When we take some time to do something nice for someone else we take the focus off of ourselves. We also invest in that person. This can cause us to feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves our self-esteem increases.
Take a 2 minute self-appreciation break
This is an easy exercise that you can do everyday.
- Find a quiet spot where you can either sit or lay down — get comfortable
- Take a few deep breaths
- Think about all the positive things that you have identified about yourself
- Ask yourself — what are 3 things that I appreciate about myself?
Do the right thing – even when it is not easy
When we do the right thing, we feel better about ourselves. We will have less regrets and will be keeping our side of the street clean. Doing the right thing is making choices that fit with your personal values and goals.
Start a self-affirmations journal
Buy yourself a notebook and spend some time every week writing out several self affirmations. You can reflect on theses during your 2 minute self-appreciation breaks.
Handle mistakes and failures in a more positive way
Everyone makes mistakes. You are no different nor are you immune to making them. Make the decision to learn from them rather than keep punishing yourself for them.
When we make the choice to eat a nutritious diet we are not only benefiting our bodies, we are also benefiting our minds. We feel better physically when we eat a healthy diet. When we feel good physically, we tend to feel better mentally.
Sleep deprivation has adverse affects on your body as well as on your mind. The odds of becoming overly sensitive, having less patience and feeling angry increases. You not only will lash out on others, you will often lash out on yourself. Lack of sleep will also affect your personality and can increase feelings of depression and sadness.
What does forgiveness have to do with self-esteem? When we hold on to unforgiveness we are keeping ourselves in a prison. It can prevent us from healing in a broken relationship as well as keep us from cultivating new relationships. We can get stuck in a “victim mentality” and that not only affects how we see the world, but also how we see ourselves. Whenever we don’t forgive ourselves that too can have damaging effects to our self-esteem. We get trapped in bad feelings and possibly inner rage.
Forgiveness is not always easy and can take some time and some work. The first step is making the choice to forgive and not wait to “feel” like it. Once we make the choice we are turning the key on our prison doors so that we’ve can start to walk towards freedom.
You Can Do It
You may not be responsible in regards to having low self-esteem, however you are responsible for taking action to change it. The truth is you are in control of this and have the power to start making some choices that will benefit your life. I wish that I could say that it will change overnight, it won’t. However by starting to take some of these steps and making an effort to apply them daily, you will see results. You don’t have to do all of them today or even tomorrow. Start by committing and following through with one and build from there. I know that you can do this and I am cheering you on.
What is the one action that you are going to start doing? Drop me a note, as I would love to hear from you.
Be blessed 💞💞💞